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Review: 'Anime: Drawing a Revolution'

By Rob M. Worley     December 17, 2007

Tonight, Starz premieres the latest installment of their "Starz Inside" series, "Anime: Drawing a Revolution".

The one-hour documentary provides an interesting retrospective of Anime. The framework of the special filters information through what is meant to seem like a high-tech, cybernetic entity, complete with glitching video and a detached, female narrative voice. It cuts between narration, animation and videotaped interviews with various western players in the Anime world.

The documentary draws a time line from the earliest days in Japan and the works of Osamu Tezuka, creator of  'Astro Boy' and 'Kimba'. We're lead through the sixties and seventies including 'Speed Racer' and 'Gatchaman' and up to the 1980s, with the launch of the wildly popular modern anime 'Transformers'. A look at the explosions of the 1990s covers numerous popular movies and TV shows and compares 'The Matrix' to the works that directly influenced it.

Finally we arrive at the 21st century, where the Anime for is tightly intertwined with western entertainment and classics like 'Speed Racer', 'Astro Boy' and 'Gatchaman' are headed to the big screen.

The show is peppered with celebrity commentary from some well-known personalities and filmmakers -Stan Lee, Rob Zombie, Lauren Holly, Hal Sparks, Kevin Munroe ('TMNT'), many of whom appeared to tape their interviews at last summer's Comic-Con.

Lest anyone fear that this is some watered-down look at the form, 'Drawing a Revolution' does try to cover as many aspects as possible. The show itself would carry an R rating for clips that display adult language, violence and even sexual content (including some infamous clips from 'Ninja Scroll').

There were a few missteps here and there: One Manga montage displays a page of John Romita Jr's 'Black Panther'. The movie spends a few minutes focusing on the 'Sin City' and '300' films, although the Manga/Anime connection to these seems like a stretch. And of all the celebrity guests, Michelle Rodriguez is the only one I can recall who seems to have no real connection to the subject.

All-in-all, 'Drawing a Revolution' is very entertaining and informative and well worth watching.

The special debuts on Starz December 17th at 9pm ET, with encores airing December 18th at 12:35pm ET, December 20th at 11pm ET and December 21st at 7:05am ET.

For more informations visit Starz.com.

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